Bank Balance Confessions: The Single Woman Who Just Bought An Apartment

Here at The Cusp, we believe that talking about money empowers us to make more informed choices – and that tracking your spending can be revelatory. Here’s the latest instalment in our series exploring the income and expenditure of young Australians. Want to get better with money? We can help you there, too.

I bought a unit in November and moved in in mid-Jan. So I’m still buying a lot of boring household stuff while trying to save for renos. I have $14000 in savings – I didn’t want to put everything I had into the unit, I wanted a buffer for unexpected costs. Plus I have always planned to renovate later this year so I got a bit more on my mortgage than was necessary. Not sure if that was the right financial decision considering the interest but I feel safer having money in my account. I’m also only on a short term contract at work. They keep extending it but it’s always a worry that I could be out of work in a few months so I’ll need those savings to pay the mortgage.

In the back of my mind I’ve been saving for a place since I started full time work in late 2010. I moved to London for 2 years and travelled heaps which took most of my savings, but I made sure I kept some money locked away in Australia as part of the deposit. When I got home, I lived with my parents for 2 years and was lucky that I didn’t have to pay rent. They knew I was saving for a deposit so supported me heaps and helped me build the deposit. I’m very, very lucky!

I’ve had no issues with buying a place on my own. Obviously it would be much easier to do it with a partner and split the costs. It just took longer! I went through a mortgage broker so I don’t know if a lender had an issue with my single status, I think they were more concerned that I was only casual at work (I got pre-approval before I was put on a contract at work).

My mortgage works out to be $498 a week. Last week I got paid $1115 after tax.


  • $62 – brunch with my cousin and her fiancé to say thanks for buying me several rounds of drinks the night before
  • $28.15 – groceries to prepare meals for the week of evening shifts ahead
  • $38 – Friend’s farewell drinks
  • $2.50 – train to and from farewell



Work means it’s a quiet day so my purse stays in my bag


  • $6.50 – new lightbulb
  • $3 – coffee
  • $23 – birthday present for a friend
  • $7.15 – groceries

= $39.65


  • $17 – brunch with friends
  • $5.20 – sushi lunch
  • $3.50 – coffee
  • $6 – dumplings (I try to make lunch/ dinner for work as often as possible to save money, but regularly fail. Double fail today)

= $31.70


  • $250 – electrician. Ouch
  • $3 – coffee
  • $4 – groceries

= $257


  • Brunch with friends – $18
  • Coffee – $3
  • Take away Thai for dinner at work – $8.50

= $29.50


  • $19 – new mattress protector as the first one I bought was super cheap from eBay and was horrid
  • $15.50 – groceries

= $34.50

Plus weekly bills
Phone – $18.70
Health insurance – $23
Netflix/Spotify – $8.15
Total weekly spend – $572.85

Total spend with mortgage – $1070.85

Savings this week – $44.15… the renos may be some time off!! I’m happy with how I went, with the exception of the take away dinners at work. That needs to change to just treats, not when I’m too lazy to make something beforehand. I’m generally pretty conservative with my money. I never buy clothes if they’re not on sale and I constantly compare products at the supermarket to get the best value one. My vice is definitely eating out with friends.

I didn’t receive any penalty rates as I didn’t work the weekend. This has shown me how much I rely on the weekend shifts to build my savings. Saving $44 a week is not going to get me very far. I know there are areas I can cut back on, like socialising. But I’m not sure I want to!

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